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Queen's Anniversary Prize honour

18 November 2009

The Health Service and Population Research Group at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, has been honoured with a Queen’s Anniversary Award.  These national honours are awarded every two years to institutions of higher and further education across the UK for work of outstanding excellence.

The Health Service and Population Research Group, led by Professor Graham Thornicroft, has been recognised for its commitment to enabling the recovery and improving the quality of life of people with mental health problems throughout the world.  The basis of the Group’s work is the principle that all people with mental health problems should be treated with dignity and have access to effective treatments tailored to their preferences and needs. This person-centred approach and the promotion in medical training of the link between mental and physical wellbeing is regarded as genuinely beneficial and distinctive.

Commenting on the award, Professor Thornicroft said, 'I am delighted that the Health Service and Population Research Group has been honoured with a Queen's Anniversary Award. We are committed to improving mental health care through excellence in research and teaching. Working in collaboration with colleagues in over 80 countries worldwide, and with the full participation of service users and family members, we aim to make mental health care in future based both upon strong evidence and sound ethical principles to promote positive recovery.'

The Group has developed robust and reliable methods to assess mental health needs of individuals and populations, and the needs of family members.  It has had an impact on a range of national strategies at home and overseas, including the cost-effectiveness of women’s crisis houses, input to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on ante and post-natal care, depression and schizophrenia, WHO treatment guidelines,  manuals for doctors, and influence on anti-stigma programmes in several countries.  The Group has also made an important contribution to the UK National Dementia Strategy.  It works with a wide range of collaborators across the world to carry out research and training, contribute to the planning and resourcing of mental health care, and help implement cost effective new treatments and interventions that are informed by local knowledge.  These collaborators include researchers, health professionals, service users, carers and staff in voluntary organizations.  Under the auspices of King’s Health Partners, the Group recently launched the Centre for Global Mental Health with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  The Group involves people with experience of mental health problems in all its research, in order to ensure enrichment of  this work with personal insight. 

Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said, ‘I warmly congratulate the twenty one universities and colleges which have been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education in this the 8th biennial Round of the scheme.  Together the winners represent a distinguished and sustained contribution to human progress and to the UK’s high international standing in education.’

This year the winning entries span the areas of manufacturing, health care, transport, languages, international human rights, archaeology, essential skills, environmental sustainability, education, hospitality and construction. They address many areas of concern to the wider world, including ageing, care for the vulnerable, water shortage, innovative plant breeding, inner city violence and alleviating poverty.

Robin Gill, Founder and Chairman, commented, ‘The Prizes confer the highest national recognition on the work of our universities and colleges and the part they play in the country’s economic advance, social wellbeing and industrial self-fulfillment.  The Prizes scheme creates networks that benefit the institutions themselves as well as the wider community. It establishes a benchmark for excellence and validates the UK’s contribution to innovation, knowledge and skills on the world scene.’

The 21 winners were announced at a special reception at St James’s Palace on 18 November by the Founder and Chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust, Robin Gill CVO.

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